So, you want to be a webOS developer, huh? That's great kid, we're excited for you, but there's a catch: Palm won't be handing out an actual SDK to most people until the end of Summer. In a post just published on the Palm Developer Network Blog, reps from the company say that although they've been cranking away on getting their full SDK in shipshape (the version given out to current devs is apparently pretty rough), they won't have anything for a broader audience anytime soon. In their words:
With the Pre now in customers' hands and reports of webOS hacks in the news, we know that you are more anxious than ever to get access to the SDK and start developing for webOS.
We've been working very hard on the SDK and are eager to open access on a wider scale, but the software and the developer services to support it just aren't ready yet.
This should come as a bit of a blow to developers hoping to get cracking on Pre software, and will unquestionably turn those who can't bear the wait towards the fully stocked iPhone or Android platforms. However, Palm does say that they'll be opening the program up a bit wider, stating in the post that they plan to crank the number of devs with the early SDK in their hands up from "hundreds to thousands" over the next few weeks. Apparently, that's part of process the company is beginning to ration out access, building to a full release.
Another bit of puzzling wordsmithing in this post comes in the form of the company's stance on homebrew and DIY "experiments" (their words) which have come to light in the past couple of weeks. So says Palm:
As on any popular platform, we recognize that some developers will experiment in ways that cross official boundaries, but we believe that our formal offerings – and community efforts built around those offerings – will provide the best experience for the vast majority of webOS developers and users.
So while it's not exactly a keep-off-the-grass statement, it certainly reads vaguely as to whether or not the company will lock out jailbreakers hoping to dive deeper into webOS. Further confusing the matter? Palm has just released the Linux source code used to compile the Pre's firmware, making the possibility of cooked / custom ROMs a very serious reality, and obviously opening the floor to a lot of said experimentation. Mixed messages? Yes. Our word to Palm right now? Put every effort into getting that SDK out, or you're at risk of quickly burning through all the good will you've just engendered.
Update: We've added some info above which reflects Palm's statement that it will be considerably widening its pool of developers over the next few weeks with access to the early SDK.
Read - An update on the early access program and the SDK
Read - Open source packages